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Women aren’t behind in any sphere of life. And, when they shine brighter than the sun, people cannot help but notice their brilliance. In this article, we shall talk a little bit about some of the most successful women in the world who hold powerful positions and influence several other women, too. If you are seeking motivation, this article is a must-read. What are we waiting for then? Let’s look at some of the most powerful women in their respective fields.
List of the Most Powerful Women in the World
Mary Wollstonecraft, a philosopher, writer, and advocate of women’s rights, famously quoted, “I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves.” The women we will be talking about in this article are those who have managed to shatter every possible glass ceiling with their superpowers. Let’s start with the world’s most influential women in politics.
World’s Most Influential Women in Politics
1. Liz Truss
Liz Truss is a celebrated British politician, currently serving as Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom since 2021 and the Minister for Women and Equalities since 2019. She is also the chief negotiator with the EU for Brexit. Truss has a monster portfolio with several cabinet positions under Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and David Cameron.
2. Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris is an American attorney and a politician. She is currently serving as the 49th Vice President of the United States. She is the highest-ranking female official, the first female vice president, and the first Asian-American and first African-American vice president in the history of the United States.
3. Nancy Pelosi
This powerful woman is the Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives. She is the highest-ranking female official elected in the United States and the first-ever American woman to hold the position of Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives.
4. Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der Leyen serves as the president of the European Commission. She is the first woman to have held this powerful position. Prior to this, she was a member of Angela Merkel’s cabinet and is known to have been the longest-serving member of the cabinet.
5. Tsai Ing-wen
Tsai Ing-wen is the first female leader of Taiwan, serving as the President of Taiwan. She is the seventh president and the first female president to be elected.
6. Sheikh Hasina Wazed
Sheikh Hasina is the longest-serving Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has held the office since 2009 and is currently serving her fourth term as the Prime Minister.
7. Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman is the current Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs in India. Prior to this, she served as the Defence Minister of India. Nirmala Sitharaman is the second woman to have become the Defence Minister and the first full-time finance minister.
8. Merav Michaeli
Michaeli is the Minister of Transport and Road Safety and chairperson of the Labor Party. She along with the ideologically-diverse coalition has been instrumental in keeping the government bloc from collapsing. She has also helped in bringing big changes in Isreal, including bringing Labor back from the brink and unseating Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. A darling of the left, many are counting on her positive leadership actions.
9. Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern is the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand. She has a number of achievements in her kitty, but the one that has inspired most women is that she is the second head of the government to give birth while in office.
10. Zuzana Čaputová
Zuzana Čaputová is the current President of Slovakia, who is also a lawyer and an environmental activist. She is the youngest president in the history of the country.
Business is another domain that women have created their space in and excelled to unimaginable levels. Read on to know about the powerful ladies in Business.
Powerful Ladies in Business
11. Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates is a philanthropist and the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims at reducing extreme poverty and enhancing healthcare globally. She was a former general manager at Microsoft, has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Duke University, and has held a seat on the Board of Directors of The Washington Post. The Gates were honoured by the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama for their work.
12. Mary Barra
Mary Barra is the Chairperson and CEO of General Motors. She is the first female CEO of a renowned auto company.
13. Susan Diane Wojcicki
Susan Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube. She has served as the first marketing manager of Google and was also involved in the founding of the company.
14. Ana Botín
Ana Botín is the executive chairperson of Banco Santander (Santander Group). Some of her previous roles include – director at Coca-Cola, chief executive at Santander UK, and executive chairman at Banesto, a Spanish Bank.
15. Sheryl Sandberg
This powerful lady is currently the COO at Facebook. She is also the founder of a non-profit organisation, LeanIn.org. At Facebook, she was the first woman to be elected to the board of directors. Before becoming the COO, Sheryl Sandberg served as the vice president of global online sales at Google and chief of staff for Lawrence Summers.
16. Meg Whitman
Meg Whitman is one of the board members of P&G and Dropbox. She also served as the CEO at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. This powerful lady is also an activist and philanthropist.
17. Gail Boudreaux
Gail Boudreaux is the CEO of the second-largest company in America, Anthem Inc. She was ranked among the top 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes and Fortune.
18. Julie Sweet
Julie Sweet is the current CEO of Accenture. She was featured in the list of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes and Fortune. Before entering the world of Accenture, Julie was an attorney and a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, an American law firm.
19. Emma Walmsley
Described as a strong and dynamic leader, Emma Walmsley, the current CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, is also the first woman to run a major pharmaceutical company. She also held a variety of management and marketing roles in L’Oréal and was a non-executive director at Diageo plc.
20. Vicki Hollub
Vicki Hollub is the President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum, a company engaged in hydrocarbon explorations in the Middle East, USA, and Columbia. She is the first woman to head a major oil company.
21. Ruth Porat
Ruth Porat is the chief financial officer of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google. She also served as an executive vice president and chief financial officer at Morgan Stanley, an American multinational investment bank and financial services company.
22. Judith Mckenna
Judith Mckenna is the CEO of Walmart Inc., which is a multinational retail corporation in America. She also held leadership roles in a British supermarket retailer, Asda, where she served as a chief financial officer and chief operating officer before becoming the CEO of Walmart.
23. Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi is the former Chair and CEO of Pepsico. She is one of the board members of the International Cricket Council and Amazon. She has been featured several times as one of the most powerful ladies in the world.
24. Amy Hood
Amy Hood is the CFO of Microsoft Corporation. Prior to this, Amy Hood held various leadership roles at Microsoft and Goldman Sachs.
25. Jessica Uhl
Jessica Uhl serves as the CFO at Royal Dutch Shell PLC, an oil and gas company. She is the second woman appointed by the company for this role.
26. Mary Callahan Erdoes
Mary Callahan Erdoes is the CEO of the Asset and Wealth Management division of JPMorgan Chase. She is also a member of the company’s operating committee. Her contribution to the field has been awarded honorary mentions in the list of the most influential and powerful women in the world.
27. Rosalind Brewer
Rosalind Brewer is the COO of Starbucks, prior to which she was the President and CEO of a division of Walmart stores, Sam’s Club. She has been honoured several times as one of the most powerful ladies in the business. Rosalind Brewer is soon to become the CEO of Walgreens in 2021.
28. Roshni Nadar Malhotra
Roshni Nadar Malhotra is the chairperson of HCL Enterprise. She is the first woman to lead a listed IT company in India and has been featured as one of the most powerful women in the world by several magazines.
29. Jennifer Salke
Jennifer Salke is the CEO of Amazon Studios, a film and television producer and distributor, and a subsidiary of Amazon. She is a former president of NBC entertainment.
30. Renuka Jagtiani
Renuka Jagtiani is the co-chairperson and CEO of a multinational consumer conglomerate, Landmark Group. She leads the company’s corporate strategy and heads its expansion into new markets.
For centuries, women have tread ahead in different domains. Other than politics and business, the women of today are gracefully dominating other fields, too, such as finance, technology, music, fashion, etc. Come, let’s look at some powerful women in these fields.
Powerful Women in Finance
31. Safra Catz
Safta Catz is the CEO of Oracle Corporation. Before assuming this role, she was a member of the board, co-president, and chief financial officer in the same company. Catz, an American billionaire banker is an inspiration for many!
32. Ho Ching
Ho Ching is an investor and the CEO of a Singaporean Sovereign Wealth Fund, Temasek. She began her journey with this Singaporean holding company as a director and later served as an executive director. She has been honoured with several Asian Business Awards and has been featured in the list of the most powerful women in the world.
33. Stacy Cunnigham
This powerful woman serves as the president at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). She is the 67th person and the 1st woman to hold full leadership of the exchange.
34. Adena Friedman
Adena Friedman is the President and CEO of the Nasdaq Stock Market. She also served as the managing director and CFO of a multinational private equity alternative asset management and financial services corporation named The Carlyle Group.
35. Abigail Johnson
Abigail Johnson is the president and CEO of Fidelity Investments. She is also the chairperson of a sister company, Fidelity International.
36. Jane Fraser
Jane Fraser is the current CEO of Citigroup. Prior to that, she was the President of Citigroup and the CEO of Global Consumer Banking. She is also the co-chair of the Citi Women Affinity Group and a member of the executive management team. In her current position as CEO of Citigroup, she is the first woman to head a major Wall Street bank.
37. Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde is the current president of the European Central Bank. She has held several ministerial positions in the Government of France. She is the first woman to head the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, and the first woman to become the Finance Minister of a G8 economy. She was also the first female chairperson of Baker & McKenzie, an international law firm.
38. Kristalina Georgieva
Kristalina Georgieva is an economist and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She has also worked as the CEO and the acting president at the World Bank and has served as vice-president of the European Commission.
39. Anne Finucane
Anne Finucane is the vice-chairperson of Bank of America. She also holds a leadership role in the bank’s ESG committee (environmental, social, and corporate governance committee).
Powerful Women in Technology
40. Marillyn Hewson
Marillyn Hewson is the executive chairperson of Lockheed Martin, an aerospace and defence manufacturing company. She previously served as chairman, president and CEO of the company and has been recognised immensely for her innovative ideas and contributions in the field. Recently, she has been elected to Chevron’s board of directors and will be serving on the Audit Committee of the Board.
41. Isabella Kocher
Isabella Kocher is the CEO of a French multinational electric utility company, ENGIE. She was also the only woman CEO in the French stock market index, CAC40. Isabella Kocher has made her mark in the world of technology by redefining the company’s strategies and implementing major transformations.
42. Phebe Novakovic
Phebe Novakovic is the chairwoman and CEO of an aerospace and defence corporation in America, General Dynamics. This powerful woman has also worked with the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and the United States Department of Defense. She is also on the board of directors of Abbott Laboratories, a medical device and healthcare company in America.
43. Kathy Warden
Kathy Warden is the CEO and President of Northrop Grumman Corporation, a global aerospace and defence technology corporation in America. Prior to becoming the CEO, she served as the COO of the company. Kathy Warden is on the board of the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, she serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond board, and she also works with the Aspen Institute’s computer security strategy group.
44. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the chairperson and managing director of the biotechnology company, Biocon LTD. Her contributions to the field of science and chemistry have been awarded several times. She has also been featured in the list of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes several times. Recently, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw was named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020.
Other Positions Held By the Most Successful Women in the World
45. Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch and the current head of state of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms. Although limited, she has several important and powerful functions, such as appointing the prime minister.
46. Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs is an influential businesswoman and the founder of Emerson Collective, a social change organisation that focuses on education, health, the environment, media and journalism, and immigration reform. The company uses community engagement, impact investment, advocacy, and philanthropy to bring about change in the world. She is also a co-founder of College Track, a company that supports students with limited resources and prepares them for college.
47. Shari Redstone
Shari Redstone is the chairwoman of ViacomCBS, a multinational media conglomerate in America. She is also the president of National Amusements, a private theatre and mass media holding company. Prior to these roles, Shari Redstone served as the vice-chairwoman of Viacom and CBS Corporation.
48. Beyoncé Knowles Carter
Beyoncé Knowles Carter, popularly known by her fans as ‘Queen Bee’, is a famous singer/songwriter, producer, actor, and dancer. She has been described as the most compelling musician of the century. She is also a philanthropist and is considered one of the most powerful and influential musicians in the world.
49. Amal Clooney
Amal Clooney is a determined human rights lawyer and a consultant to governments and individuals on legal issues. She represents victims of genocide and sexual violence and clients in international courts and is ranked in Legal 500 and Chambers and Partner as a decorated barrister in international human rights law, international criminal law, and international public law. Clooney was part of the trial in which one ISIS member was convicted of attempting genocide against Yazidis. She is the voice for the weak on all international borders who has a deep understanding of law and empathy for people.
Famous as a singer, songwriter, actor, and businesswoman, Rihanna is another powerful woman in the world who inspires millions. She owns a cosmetics brand, Fenty Beauty, and a label named Westbury Road Entertainment, which releases music through Universal Music Group.
51. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is a famous talk show host, actor, media executive, television producer, and philanthropist. Best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, she is also the owner of a cable channel “OWN” and is often described as the queen of all media. In the 20th century, Oprah Winfrey was also considered one of the richest African Americans in the world.
52. Anna Wintour
Anna Wintour is a phenomenal woman who has undertaken several roles. She has served as the editor-in-chief and is the Global Editorial Director of Vogue. She is also the Artistic Director and the Global Chief Content Officer for Condé Nast. She is the trendsetter who encouraged fashion houses to hire novice designers. Her ideas and contributions have made her one of the most powerful women in fashion.
53. Miuccia Prada
Miuccia Prada is a billionaire fashion designer and businesswoman from Italy. She heads the fashion house “Prada” and is also the founder of a subsidiary fashion house, “Miu Miu”. She has been honoured with several awards and is considered one of the most influential and powerful women in the world.
The list of women achievers in the world is limitless. If you look closely, you’ll find many around you. Some may be famous, some not. Let each one of them inspire and motivate you to exceed all expectations and achieve greater heights. Happy Women’s Day!